Swan 56 La Floresta Del Mar breaks the Super Zero stronghold of the 2009 Fastnet Race and wins her class.
Over 500 years after Sir Francis Drake left his game of Bowls to intercept the invading Spaniards, a Spanish crew got their own back today by sailing into Plymouth to take a well-earned class victory. La Floresta Del Mar, aka Clem, the 10 year old Swan 56 belonging to Jaime Olazabal crossed the finish line at 0330 this morning to win IRC Class 1 Z and be the first boat to punctuate the Super Zero’s dominance in the overall standings, beating Beau Geste to 6th place.
Drafting in a mix of Spain’s finest onboard obviously helped Olazabal stay on top of the mix of modern Kers and Farrs in their class, including Piet Vroon’s latest Ker 46 Tonnerre de Breskens, David Aisher’s Yeoman XXXII, and Richard Matthews’ Oystercatcher XXVI. The Spanish rockstars included helmsman Jordi Calafat, ex Alinghi strategist and Olympic Gold medalist. Tactics were decided by ‘Spain’s most experienced yachtsman’ Guillermo Altadill, who has an astonishing two Volvo and two Whitbred Races under his belt, six circumnavigations and 18 Atlantic crossings. Alongside Altadill was his Estrella Damm co-skipper for the next Barcelona World Race, Pachi Rivero who stepped in as bowman and trimmer. And having recently completed the last Volvo Ocean Race as Watch Captain on Telefonica Black, Jaime Arbones also made a very handy trimmer and helmsman.
‘This was the best regatta/race I have ever taken part in, and it’s also my proudest moment in sailing’ said a jubilant Olazabal. First over the line in their class, their strategies were apparently spot on as they kept to a reasonably inland course. ‘Whilst we maintained good boatspeed upwind which is unsurprising for this boat,’ commented Olazabal’s brother in law James Hartley (who alongside his sister, were the minority Brits onboard), ‘we held our own coming back down, maintaining surprising speed, to cap a perfect race.’